Neufchateau, France 12/26/1917

Same place in France


Dear Em.


The day after Xmas. And all is well; yes Em very well. I enjoyed yesterday very well considering the same thing as Ive considered right along. Then again Em, there is no use considering this so Ive sumed it all up and call it a very good Yule Tide. Now aint I some considerer. Well Em, we’ve got to say some thing and considerating will coincide with us about as well as any thing.


Now. Yesterday as Ive said above was Christmas and Santa Claus paid me as welcome a visit as I ever experienced. Yes even considering the days when we were kids (and when I think of them days now they were some pleasant.) And Em, you did more towards this than I could ever tell you. Four letters from you. Well Em it was the darb, thats all. Two cartons of Lucky Strikes and a letter from Red the Shipper, in which he said, that he had heard from three of the boys in France, and that the rest of them were sent South. Also got a package of tobacco from Bill, (my side kick at the shop,) a letter from a sister of one of the boys at the shop (stating that she was sending a package, and a letter from a party in S.B. All this on Christmas day.


We had a very good dinner consisting of Turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, nuts, apples, pie, bread, and coffee. It snowed all day, and there is an inch of this (what does Pa call it?) on the ground now. I can remember when I used to like to see it snow. Im cured Pa, fully cured. Walk, drill, and do nothing but come in contact with snow all day and any one will be cured.


We had quite a reunion Christmas, in that a crowd of old K. Co. boys came over and visited us. Christmas Eve was very jovially spent, and as Ive said above all’s well and we’ve got down to hard work again. Its very cold and snowing most of the time, but we bundle up warm (in the woolen goods that the Red Cross was so kind to supply us with) and go out, dig trenches, work guns, fight dummies with the bayonet and practise the throwing of bombs.

Grenade Training Diagram, 1917

You’ve got to work hard to keep warm, and hard work and cold weather makes a healthy man hungry. The best part of it all is we get enough to eat, at present anyway. Of coarse this won’t always be but, Im not worrying about some thing thats coming. That will take care of itself. There is a noncomps meeting at 7.45 tonight and Ill have to break in on this letter to attend this but Ill be back as soon as I can and tell you more about myself. Myself understand; nothing in regards to where we are, how we got here or when we will leave. Im taking no chances in crabbing the game. Well Em its twenty five minutes of eight now and I guess Ill gather my trusty disciples, and hike them over to the hut until about nine oclock, when Im planning on being missing to get back here and write as much as I can tonight.

Well Em it was a lecture on sniping. Here I am back again at ten oclock. It was too interesting to leave. It was given by an officer who has been “at it.” It’s a fine moon light night, one that when you walk on the snow, every step is a song. Skweek. Meat for air raids and I wish I could tell you something on this. But Im going to follow the orders, for one word will probably keep this letter from reaching you.


By the way Em Im wrong again one of those letters was from Sadie and it will be the next one I answer. Your letters were dated Nov. 26 and 29th and Dec. 2nd. You open up your letter of the 26th by saying it was awful cold there. I can sympathize with you for it is very cold here. Its funny it was too cold for Henry to get over though Id like to get the chance. So you read the book “Over The Top.” I could explain a lot of this book to you if I was there. Im not in the intelligent squad now though Em. Ive got to be intelligent enough to handle this crew. Im sorry Pa couldnt get Thanksgiving off, but he’s one of those chaps that never seem to weaken. That service pin business is a new stunt to me. If it was in style over here, every one (woman) would have one, some four or five. Im glad Mollie likes her new home and also that she is better.


Your letter of the 29th states that you sent a package for Thanksgiving. I got one, and do not know whether this one is the one you mean or not. Ive only received one anyway, so I hope thats all you sent. Im glad Henry showed up for dinner. Tell Nora that I was asking for her and that Im in hopes to hear that she is better in your next letter.


Yes I thought Pa would laugh on hearing of my new extra duties, and I bet Id get some “Hello Sam” if I was to pass in review. He would get a nod too beleive me. Yes. Bingville Band or the Maine Hayshakers is a very fitting name, but at that there isn’t a better band organized than this same 103rd Inf. It seems good to hear that they all received my mail, for I have so little time to write all I do that Id hate to have them get lost. Im glad to hear Tom is well and that he sends a line home once in a while. I want to say that a mine scrapper isnt the safest job on the water either, but don’t tell Madge this.

We get all the sugar nessessary for our coffee, so this is where Ive got it on you. So the “Old Eighth” has “Gone South.” Do you know that over here when you speak of any body going south it means he is a goner. So the “Old Eighth” might have gone South but there are a lot of us over here that will never forget the deal it got. Steam heat for the National Army what. I wish you could see the way these fellows are putting up for the winter.

I forgot to tell you that I moved. General Cole has moved his Brigade Headquarters into the house we were in so we had to move. As luck would have it we got a house right across the street. The Supply Sgt. is in with us now. Let me tell you about this house. Four rooms. Two up stairs where the Supply Sgt. has all his supplies. Down stairs there is two rooms, the front room is a kitchen where we have our office and do all the company work. In back of this is a bed room in which (now get it) there are two beds built in the wall. OH Em its the darb of a home. In the kitchen we have two stoves and we also got one in the said “chamber.”

Im awfully grateful to Lena for paying my insurance, and if I ever do get a hold of an allotment blank I will make out some thing to her. I remember this Trainor. He is now in one of the letter companies over in the 104th.

Give the Holland’s my very best and tell them Ill write again if I get caught up with what mail Ive got. If I can’t balance the baton on the end of this nose, I think you will agree with me that its not because the baton is too big. Well Em this paper has at least two flags on it, and they are the only thing Ive got to boast of in this letter.

I just went down and got my pictures.

I just went down and got my pictures. I had some taken with out hat or overcoat on, which are not finished yet. Will forward one as soon as they are ready. In the mean time Ill send this note along hoping to here from you, by the next mail. When you look at this picture you will agree with me that Im not the worst treated old dog in the world. Will send some of these pictures to Aunt Madge and Mollie, and every one if they will go around. You see I want to prove to them that what Ive been saying right along that Im not kidding. Ill call you again later Em. So long. Tell Leonard I was asking for him.

Love to all,


© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Readers:
    Please refer to the page “Sam’s References Explained” for an entry referencing “Bingville Band and S.B.”


  2. A very interesting letter home. I’ve seen other letters from this period from the 26th Division, and several make comment on their abundance of sugar “over there” while at home there seems to have been a shortage or rationing of sugar. I believe most of the letters written to the soldiers bemoaned the fact that parents could not easily bake cakes or send home-made fudge overseas.
    I would also share the fact that mail and packages destined for the troops in the last half of December was intentionally held up so that it could be delivered on Xmas day.
    Finally, it seems Sam is probably using some of the patriotic stationary supplied by the YMCA. This had US flags on the envelopes and stationary and was given out to the soldiers at YMCA “huts” during the war. The YMCA was much appreciated by the troops for their work in making life more comfortable when the troops were not “in the line” (trenches).

  3. … You could tell this young man was educated, homesick and experiencing adventures of an entire lifetime simultaneously …. He was a great letter writer too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: